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Imago dei is a theological principle that echoes the Genesis account where humanity is created in the “image of God” (Imago Dei is phrase in Latin). The manner in which the imago dei informs contemporary concerns is manifold. As a foundational tenet of both the human condition and theological substance, the ramifications extend to every corner of human experience.
1. The development of meaningful community Read the rest of this entry »
A little less than a year ago I was given the privilege of previewing an early edit of a documentary film a friend of mine was making. As I sat down to watch it with my wife and some other friends of ours I knew that I could expect quality filming with excellent editing but what I was curious to see was if I would encounter a compelling story. Now, I was not unaware of the content of the film and I found the verbal telling of it quite interesting but I wasn’t sure how it would translate into a film. A little over an hour later I sat with questions racing through my mind, thoughts ablaze, as I was completely blown away by the film. That film is now beginning a Film Festival circuit and I cannot wait for others to see it. It is titled “Little Hope Was Arson”.
“Little Hope Was Arson” is a detailed account of the largest criminal investigation in East Texas’ history. The investigation surrounds the serial arson of several churches and seeks to understand the “why” behind it. This documentary brings up questions surrounding faith and it’s influences in government, family dynamics, forgiveness, and what it means to be the Church. The film has been selected for several film festivals and has an exciting future ahead of it. Check out the trailer below and their website www.littlehopewasarson.com.
I used to assume that part of the Church’s responsibility was to be heavily active in American politics. Of course it is our Christian duty to vote – and vote conservatively. Of course we should protect our rights to bear arms. Of course we should pledge allegiance to the flag.
Well… shouldn’t we? Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever heard someone talk about the “good ol’ days?” Usually this phrase describes a season in life that was beautiful, fun, and invigorating. It was playing high school sports, or making memories in college. It was a season of freedom and vitality, a vision we hold onto from the days that have passed us by. We all reminisce from time to time, letting nostalgia run its course. Remembering can be a beautiful thing. However, when someone lives their daily life believing that their best days are behind them, we call that tragic. Can you imagine living as though the best days of your life are gone?
A wise man once taught me that spiritual maturity is being okay with not having all of the answers. I’ve held on to this thought over the years and the longer I am in ministry the more I believe it to be true. The most dangerous people in the church, and by dangerous I mean those who hinder others growth, are the ones who have come to such a high level of certainty in their understanding of God that they do not welcome, allow, or encourage the questions of those who are seeking to draw near to Him.
In the process of discipleship there tends to be an approach that treats discipleship as teaching people all of the right answers so that they can reach certainty. The Bible becomes an answer book rather than a narrative. Christianity becomes about facts rather than faith. It’s a dangerous approach. What if instead of trying to indoctrinate people to certainty we led people in a process that showed them how to navigate their questions and doubts, what if rather than pushing for certainty we left room to dwell in the mystery of God? How would that change Christian culture?
When Jesus was investing in His disciples it was obvious that he welcomed their questions and struggles. There were times where Jesus showed his frustration at their questions but he never shut the door because He knew that this was part of their development. It was in their questions and doubts that Jesus was often able to show more of who He was. Jesus’ never took the approach of spoon feeding answers to His disciples so that they could regurgitate them later. Our approach to discipleship should be the same. We lead people on a journey of asking questions, seeking answers, navigating doubt, and being okay when things don’t fit nicely together or even make sense.
In changing our approach we then elevate the journey of seeking rather than the facade of certainty. Walking with Jesus, asking Him questions, trusting His silence, and embracing His mystery become the goals of discipleship rather than the answers known, the verses memorized, and the holiness we portray.
Ryan Reed is a pastor in Washington State where he lives with his wife, Lauren, and son, Liam. He is a former contributor to Thrive80.com and current contributor to FaithVillage.com.